Today’s blog post comes courtesy of Artworks artist Valerie Armstrong, whose art is now taking a bold new direction after inheriting an idyllic house in southern France:
Two years ago I inherited a house with a large studio in the mountains of the Alpes Maritimes in the south of France. It was hard won and the complicated French legal system meant I spent much of last year struggling to keep the house. Now however, my family and I are finally able to enjoy it, my husband and myself will work there for the summer. As a result my work is changing to larger scale abstracts in acrylic paint and mixed media.
In France I work in a beautiful studio overlooking a medieval village and the mountains. I am surrounded by exuberant and colourful canvasses painted by my French relatives. The light is soft and the air pure; it is an inspiring place!
I love to draw and have always expressed myself in a figurative or semi-figurative way. Now, perhaps because of France, I feel the need to let go of my old, comfortable ways of working and move into a less familiar, more abstract space. I need to push myself further to explore those dark, shadowy places lurking in the subconscious.
In my new work – on canvas and on paper – I build up with layers of translucent textures, forms and colour, using many applications of pigment and glaze. I add mixed media and collage, then scrape back and rebuild so that veiled layers and images applied in the process finally reappear in the finished piece as ghostly suggestions.